Blog post: kinship family

Honoring Family Bonds During Kinship Month

  • September 20th, 2023
  • By Pathway Caring for Children

Family is at the heart of our society, and the bonds we share with our relatives are among the most important connections we have in our lives. In Ohio, these familial connections are celebrated and highlighted throughout September. This annual observance not only recognizes the significance of kinship care but also sheds light on some eye-opening statistics related to kinship care in the state.

Kinship caregivers are family members, often grandparents, aunts, uncles, or older siblings, who step in to care for children when their parents are unable to do so. These caregivers provide love, stability, and guidance to children in need, preserving family connections and helping children thrive in challenging circumstances.

  1. Number of Kinship Families: There are over 297,000 Ohio children who are being raised by kinship caregivers. This number highlights the substantial role that kinship care plays in the state’s child welfare system.
  2. Reasons for Kinship Care: Kinship care arises from various circumstances, including parental substance abuse, incarceration, death, or the inability to provide a stable home environment. These caregivers often step in as a result of family crises, highlighting the resilience of family bonds.
  3. Impact on Children: Research consistently shows that children placed in kinship care tend to experience better emotional, behavioral, and educational outcomes compared to those placed in non-relative foster care. Kinship caregivers offer a sense of familiarity and stability, which can be vital for a child’s well-being.
  4. Resource Availability: Access to resources such as support groups, counseling services, and financial assistance can greatly benefit kinship caregivers. Ohio Kinship Month serves as a reminder to the community and policymakers about the importance of providing these resources.

Why Ohio Kinship Month Matters

Ohio Kinship Month is not just about recognizing the caregivers; it’s about acknowledging the resilience of families and communities coming together to support one another. It’s about raising awareness of the challenges these caregivers face and ensuring they have the resources and assistance they need to provide the best possible care for the children entrusted to them.

Pathway offers several supports that recognize the unique challenges kinship families face.

These include:

  • Held once a month, Pathway’s Adoption and Kinship Mother’s Group allows moms to connect on common joys and challenges, learn new parenting strategies for children from hard beginnings, and provide emotional support for each other.
  • Pathway offers a Kinship Connections Support Group which allows parents to come together and share with others who understand the unique needs of raising extended family. Our staff provides support and offers practical education during this group that everyone can use.
  • Pathway staff work with adoptive and kinship families facilitating support groups and teaching skills through Family Empowerment.